By Mike Britt, CFE President and Historian
The serial number for a Crown Firecoach is often referred to as the “F-number” because the 4-digit serial number Crown used was preceded by the letter “F” (for Firecoach). The “F-number” was the only Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for all Crown Fire coaches until January 1 of 1981, when the state of California began requiring the issuance of the long VIN as used on other trucks and autos, which is a combination of at least 17 different letters and numbers. Separate long VINs appeared on less than 30 Fire coaches total and only on “wide body” style Crowns delivered from 1981 to the end of production. On those Crowns, the long VIN appears on the builder’s plate (mounted inside the cab by the accelerator pedal) instead of the “F-number”. As a result, it is more difficult to identify those Crowns by the numbers. You need a Crown serial number list and the list of job numbers. The VIN is also recorded in the job files in the CFE archives.
On Fire coaches that only have the long VIN on the builder’s plate, there is a metal tag on the base of the captain’s seat which can be seen when the right side cab door is open. Stamped on that plate is a four digit number, starting with a 9, which is the Crown “job number” which can be cross-referenced to determine the serial number or “F-number” of the rig.
Silver Trumpet – 2016 Vol. 2